Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory pot shop reacts to Ontario cannabis lottery

It remains business as usual for those working in the cannabis industry on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory after the winners of the Ontario cannabis lottery were announced Friday.

There were five licences awarded in the eastern region that includes Ottawa, Kingston and Barrie.

According to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s official results, the five winners of the lottery in the eastern region were:

  • Daniel Telio
  • Brandon Long
  • Patterson and Lavoie
  • Pure Alpha Holdings 
  • Karan Someshwar

Global Kingston has yet to verify the specific locations of these individuals due to the lack of identifying information that was released.

The owner of Legacy 420 on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Tim Barnhart, says the lack of operators in the Kingston area would be good for business.

“There’s excitement from the customers, and if you can see the store on Saturdays and Sundays, there are people coming from the big cities like Toronto, Montreal, Kingston and Belleville,” said Barnhart.

There are over 50 cannabis stores on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, where they operate under Indigenous authority but are technically illegal, according to the provincial government.

The previous Liberal government of Ontario planned for 40 government-owned pot shops to open on Oct. 17, however that plan was dismissed by Progressive Conservatives in 2018 when Doug Ford overtook the premier seat, later decreasing the initial number of bricks-and-mortar stores to 25.

This decision was followed closely by Kingston and the Islands MPP Ian Arthur, who told Global Kingston the lottery process is not helping local economies and has no effect on curbing the black market.

A mother from Quinte West told Global News that she travels 45 minutes to purchase CBD oil and other products for her ill son from Legacy 420. She says Barnhart’s store has alleviated her son’s pain and has provided easier access by way of a storefront rather than having to wait for her products to arrive in the mail via online orders.

Barnhart told Global Kingston the lack of access is a problem shared by many in southeastern Ontario.

“We did some surveying a couple years back, and out of 1,200 people, 60 per cent of the customers said they came here for pain and 30 per cent came for anxiety,” said Barnhart.

Business owners in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory will have some clarity on whether they will face any nearby competition when the official applications are submitted by lottery winners within the next week.

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